A closer look at turbulent oceans and greenhouse heating
Adventure = Disaster that didn’t quite happen.
A few such events when sailing Indian Ocean in 1980 and 1984
(i.e. storm front with waterspout, Andrew C. Revkin with Lon Bubeck on sailboat Rashika, near Maldives).
From NYTimes by Andrew C Revkin
Earth’s climate is
shaped by the interplay of two complicated and turbulent systems — the
atmosphere and oceans.
(The photo above is from the two years I spent at
that interface as crew on ocean-roaming sailboats.) The oceans hold the
majority of heat in the system, are full of sloshy cycles on time
scales from years to decades and, despite an increase in monitoring using sophisticated diving buoys, remain only spottily tracked
It’s no wonder, then,
that assessing the mix of forces shaping short-term wiggles in global
and regional atmospheric temperature (years to decades) remains a
That’s why it’s worth stepping back after weeks of news about studies of the role of oceans
in retarding, and sometimes accelerating, global warming to reflect a
bit on the difference between edge-pushing analysis and firm scientific
established is that the climate is warming, that the buildup of
human-generated heat-trapping greenhouse gases is contributing
substantially to the warming and that while the buildup of gases is
steady, the rise in temperatures is not.
There’s been a burst
of worthy research aimed at figuring out what causes the stutter-steps
in the process — including the current hiatus/pause/plateau that has
generated so much discussion.
The oceans are high on the long list of
contributors, given their capacity to absorb heat.
The recent studies
have pointed variously to process in the Pacific and Atlantic
and Southern oceans (the latter being the extraordinary band of seas in
the Southern Hemisphere where winds circulate around the globe
unimpeded by continents).
There’s important work
to be done on this question but — as the oceanographer Carl Wunsch
notes at the end of this post — the paucity of data on ocean heat makes
it tough to get beyond “maybe” answers.
Peter Spotts of the Christian Science Monitor wrote a nice piece on the battle of the ocean basins
. Here’s his description of the Atlantic mechanism:
Atlantic, the heat is carried north as part of a powerful current system
known as the Atlantic thermohaline circulation. The north-flowing Gulf
Stream is the most visible manifestation of this circulation.
By the time it reaches
the far North Atlantic, the dense, salty water has cooled and sinks. It
plunges toward the seafloor and heads south at depth, retaining some of
the heat it accumulated on the surface.
In a news article in the journal Science
which published the latest paper on the Atlantic’s role in decades-long
global temperature fluctuations, Eli Kintisch described the Pacific
argument this way:
17 August Nature Climate Change study, a team led by [Kevin] Trenberth
suggests that natural variability in the Pacific explains more than half
of the hiatus. Based on data and climate simulations, they argue that a
pattern known as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, which shifts every 20
to 30 years, is driving the increased upwelling as well as other
climate trends, including the rapid warming of the Arctic and recent
cold winters in Europe.
The newest paper, in the current issue of Science, “Varying planetary heat sink led to global-warming slowdown and acceleration
argues that the Atlantic not only has shaped the current plateau, but
also was responsible for half of the sharp global warming at the end of
the 20th century.
The paper, by Xianyao Chen of the Ocean University of
China and Ka-Kit Tung of the University of Washington, has a remarkably
vacillating global heat sink at intermediate ocean depths is associated
with different climate regimes of surface warming under anthropogenic
forcing: The latter part of the 20th century saw rapid global warming as
more heat stayed near the surface. In the 21st century, surface warming
slowed as more heat moved into deeper oceans. In situ and reanalyzed
data are used to trace the pathways of ocean heat uptake. In addition to
the shallow La Niña–like patterns in the Pacific that were the previous
focus, we found that the slowdown is mainly caused by heat transported
to deeper layers in the Atlantic and the Southern oceans, initiated by a
recurrent salinity anomaly in the subpolar North Atlantic. Cooling
periods associated with the latter deeper heat-sequestration mechanism
historically lasted 20 to 35 years.
In an e-mail exchange,
Ka-Kit Tung noted how this work can help reveal the steady warming in
the background that is attributable to human activities:
The underlying anthropogenic warming trend, even with the zero rate of warming during the current hiatus, is 0.08 C per decade.* [That's 0.08 degrees Celsius, or 0.144 degrees Fahrenheit.]
However, the flip side of this is that the anthropogenically forced
trend is also 0.08 C per decade during the last two decades of the
twentieth century when we backed out the positive contribution from the
This aspect of the
work was largely missed in press coverage.
I asked a range of climate
and ocean scientists to weigh in on the paper.
Many focused on details
of the Atlantic-Pacific debate.
A few took a broader view that’s worth
Joshua K. Willis
of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory said this:
to your question, if you mean how robust is the “slowdown” in global
surface warming, the answer is it just probably just barely
statistically significant. If you are wondering whether is it meaningful
in terms of the public discourse about climate change, I would say the
answer is no. The basic story of human caused global warming and its
coming impacts is still the same: humans are causing it and the future
will bring higher sea levels and warmer temperatures, the only questions
are: how much and how fast?
As far as the cause of
the slowdown, I think there is still some debate, not just about the
cause but about the details of what’s going on. For example, there have
been several studies including this one to suggest that some deeper
layer of the oceans are warming faster now than they were 10 or 15 years
ago. This suggestion of an accelerated warming in a deep layer of the
ocean has been suggested mostly on the basis of results from reanalyses
of different types (that is, numerical simulations of the ocean and
atmosphere that are forced to fit observations in some manner). But it
is not clear to me, actually, that an accelerated warming of some
sub-surface layer of the ocean (at least in the globally-averaged sense)
is robustly supported by the data itself.
Until we clear up
whether there has been some kind of accelerated warming at depth in the
real ocean, I think these results serve as interesting hypotheses about
why the rate of surface warming has slowed-down, but we still lack a
definitive answer on this topic.
Here’s Andrew Dessler
of Texas A&M University:
There are a few interesting things to note here.
First, the hiatus is
example of how science works. When it was first observed a few years
ago, there were lots of theories — including things like stratospheric
water vapor, solar cycles, stratospheric aerosol forcing. After some
intense work by of the community, there is general agreement that the
main driver is ocean variability. That’s actually quite impressive
progress and shows how legitimate uncertainty is handled by the
Second, I think it’s
important to put the hiatus in context. This is not an existential
threat to the mainstream theory of climate. We are not going to find out
that, lo and behold, carbon dioxide is not a greenhouse gas and is not
causing warming. Rather, I expect that the hiatus will help us
understand how ocean variability interacts with the long-term warming
that humans are causing. In a few years, as we get to understand this
more, skeptics will move on (just like they dropped arguments about the
hockey stick and about the surface station record) to their next reason
not to believe climate science.
As far as this
particular paper goes, I think the findings that the heat is going into
the Atlantic and Southern Ocean’s is probably pretty robust. However, I
will defer to people like Josh Willis who know the data better than I
What’s most exciting
to me is that this is really a fascinating conundrum. People like Kevin
Trenberth and Kosaka and Xie have published quite convincingly that the
action seems to be in the Pacific. So the challenge is to try to resolve
that evidence with the ocean heat data that shows that the energy is
going into other ocean basins. Ultimately, the challenge come up with
the parsimonious theory that fits all of the data.
I do think that ocean
variability may have played a role in the lack of warming in the middle
of the 20th century, as well as the rapid warming of the 1980s and
1990s. But the argument that the hiatus will last for another decade or
two is very weak and I would not put much faith in that. If the cycle
has a period of 60-70 years, that means we have one or two cycles of
observations. And I don’t think you can much about a cycle with just 1-2
cycles: e.g., what the actual period of the variability is, how regular
it is, etc. You really need dozen of cycles to determine what the
actual underlying variability looks like. In fact, I don’t think we even
know if it IS a cycle.
And this brings up
what to me is the real question: how much of the hiatus is pure internal
variability and how much is a forced response (from loading the
atmosphere with carbon). This paper seems to implicitly take the
position that it’s purely internal variability, which I’m not sure is
true and might lead to a very different interpretation of the data and
estimate of the future.
Thus, their estimate
of 1-2 more decades before rapid warming resumes might be right; but, if
so, I’d consider them lucky rather than smart.
John Michael Wallace
, a professor emeritus of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington, offered these thoughts:
Back in 2001 I served as a member of the committee that drafted the National Research Council report, “Climate Change Science: An Analysis of Some Key Questions
The prevailing view at that time, to which I subscribed, was that the
signal of human-induced global warming first clearly emerged from the
background noise of natural variability starting in the 1970s and that
the observed rate of increase from 1975 onward could be expected to
continue into the 21st century. The Fourth Assessment Report of the
IPCC, released in 2007, offered a similar perspective, both in the text
and in the figures in its Summary for Policymakers.
By that time, I was
beginning to have misgivings about this interpretation. It seemed to me
that the hiatus in the warming, which by then was approaching ten years
in length, should not be dismissed as a statistical fluke. It was as
legitimate a part of the record as the rapid rises in global-mean
temperature in the 1980s and 1990s.
In 2009 Zhaohua Wu
contacted me about a paper that he, Norden Huang, and other colleagues
were in the process of writing in which they attributed the stair-step
behavior in the rate of global warming, including the current hiatus, to
Atlantic multidecadal variability. I was initially a bit skeptical, but
in time I began to appreciate the merits of their arguments and I
became personally involved in the project. The paper (Wu et al.)
encountered some tough sledding in the review process, but we persisted
and the article finally appeared in Climate Dynamics three years ago. [See Judith Curry's helpful discussion
The new paper by Tung
and Chen goes much farther than we did in making the case that Atlantic
multidecadalvariability needs to be considered in the attribution of
climate change. I’m glad to see that it is attracting attention in the
scientific community, along with recent papers of Kosaka et al. and
Meehl et al. emphasizing the role of ENSO
variability. I hope this will lead to a broader discussion about the
contribution of natural variability to local climate trends and to the
statistics of extreme events.
a visiting professor at Harvard and professor emeritus of oceanography
at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, offered a valuable
cautionary comment on the range of papers finding oceanic drivers of
short-term climate variations.
He began by noting the challenge just in
determining average conditions:
the problem is that anyone can take a few measurements, average them,
and declare it to be the global or regional value. It’s completely
legitimate, but only if you calculate the expected uncertainty and do it
in a sensible manner.
The system is noisy. Even if there were no anthropogenic forcing, one expects
to see fluctuations including upward and downward trends, plateaus,
spikes, etc. It’s the nature of turbulent, nonlinear systems. I’m
attaching a record of the height of the Nile — 700-1300 CE. Visually
it’s just what one expects. But imagine some priest in the interval from
900-1000, telling the king that the the Nile was obviously going to
Variations in the height of the Nile River over the centuries.
Credit Carl Wunsch
your own interval. Or look at the central England temperature record or
any other long geophysical one. If the science is done right, the
calculated uncertainty takes account of this background variation. But
none of these papers, Tung, or Trenberth, does that. Overlain on top of
this natural behavior is the small, and often shaky, observing systems,
both atmosphere and ocean where the shifting places and times and
technologies must also produce a change even if none actually occurred.
The “hiatus” is likely real, but so what? The fuss is mainly about
normal behavior of the climate system.
The central problem of
climate science is to ask what you do and say when your data are, by
almost any standard, inadequate? If I spend three years analyzing my
data, and the only defensible inference is that “the data are inadequate
to answer the question,” how do you publish? How do you get your grant
renewed? A common answer is to distort the calculation of the
uncertainty, or ignore it all together, and proclaim an exciting story
that the New York Times will pick up.
A lot of this is
somewhat like what goes on in the medical business: Small, poorly
controlled studies are used to proclaim the efficacy of some new drug or
treatment. How many such stories have been withdrawn years later when
enough adequate data became available?
Addendum, 6:30 p.m. | Ka-Kit Tung responded to Wunsch and Dessler in an e-mail.
Here’s his reply to Carl Wunsch’s reaction:
Wunsch’s concern over the sparsity of the ocean data, as expressed in
his recent papers, is mostly related to the part of the ocean below 2000
m (the abyssal ocean). He pointed out the signal in the abyssal oceans
were mostly at least 500 years old. The signals that we are interested
for the current hiatus of the past 15 years came down from above and
have not reached the part of the ocean below 2000 m. We used only data
above 1500 m and our case was made in Figure 2 of the paper using recent
data with better coverage.
And Andrew Dessler’s reaction:
We did not
predict in our Science paper that the current hiatus will last another
decade or two. The statement that it will last another “15 years” was
found in the press release by Science magazine. We were not given a
chance to approve it; it probably was not their practice. In the paper
itself, we discussed the fact that “historically” lasted 20-35 years. In
our university’s press release, we emphasized that it is difficult to
predict how long it will last given the changing climate conditions.
Dessler mentioned that
there is only 1-2 cycles of this 60-year variability in the short
climate record. We discussed this issue in our paper: The global
instrumental record since 1850 contains only 2 and half cycles of this
65-year cycle. Tung and Zhou (2013, PNAS) extended it a few hundred
years using Central England temperature data. We are currently
reexamining Greenland ice-core data that extends the cycle back another
thousand years. In addition, free-running models have produced this
multidecadal cycles in their control runs (i.e. without anthropogenic
forcing), although the latest batch of models have problems getting the
- The Guardian : Unpacking unpaused global warming – climate models got it right
- Phys : Ocean circulation explains why the Arctic affected by global warming more than the Antarctic
- Washington University : Cause of global warming hiatus found deep in the Atlantic Ocean
US NOAA update in the Marine GeoGarage
As our public viewer is not yet available
(currently under construction, upgrading to Google Maps API v3 as v2 is officially no more supported),
this info is primarily intended to our iPhone/iPad universal mobile application users
(Marine US on the App Store)
and also to our B2B customers which use our nautical charts layers in their own webmapping applications through our GeoGarage API.
NOAA raster chart coverage
18 charts have been updated in the Marine GeoGarage
(NOAA update August 2014, released August 15th 2014)
- 1116A ed78 Mississippi River to Galveston (Oil and Gas Leasing Areas)
- 11340 ed78 Mississippi River to Galveston
- 11344 ed40 Rollover Bayou to Calcasieu Pass
- 11392 ed8 St. Andrew Bay - Bear Point to Sulpher Point
- 11452 ed23 Intracoastal Waterway Alligator Reef to Sombrero Key
- 11505 ed5 Savannah River Approach
- 11542 ed19 New River;Jacksonville
- 12224 ed26 Chesapeake Bay Cape Charles to Wolf Trap
- 12226 ed19 Chesapeake Bay Wolf Trap to Pungoteague Creek
- 12283 ed29 Annapolis Harbor
- 13326 ed14 Machias Bay to Tibbett Narrows
- 14970 ed27 Marquette and Presque Isle Harbors
- 16436 ed11 Shemya Island;Alcan Harbor;Skoot Cove
- 16587 ed3 Semidi Islands and Vicinity
- 17367 ed12 Thomas. Farragut. and Portage Bays. Frederick Sound
- 11356 ed41 Isles Dernieres to Point au Fer
- 11528 ed1 Cooper River Above Goose Creek
- 13292 ed41 Portland Harbor and Vicinity
Note : NOAA updates their nautical charts with corrections published in:
While information provided by this Web site is intended to provide updated nautical charts, it must not be used as a substitute for the United States Coast Guard, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, or Canadian Coast Guard Notice to Mariner publications
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Please visit the NOAA's chart update service for more info or the online chart catalog
Why are we importing our own fish?
Hundreds of shrimp trawlers setting off from the Shenjiamen fishing port in eastern China in 2010.
Hu Sheyou/Xinhua Press, via Corbis
From NYTimes by Paul Greenberg
In 1982 a Chinese aquaculture scientist named Fusui Zhang journeyed to
Martha’s Vineyard in search of scallops.
The New England bay scallop had
recently been domesticated, and Dr. Zhang thought the Vineyard-grown
shellfish might do well in China. After a visit to Lagoon Pond in
Tisbury, he boxed up 120 scallops and spirited them away to his lab in
During the journey 94 died.
But 26 thrived.
Thanks to them,
today China now grows millions of dollars of New England bay scallops, a
significant portion of which are exported back to the United States.
go scallops, so goes the nation.
According to the National Marine Fisheries Service
, even though the United States controls more ocean
than any other country, 86 percent of the seafood we consume is
it’s much fishier than that: While a majority of the seafood Americans
eat is foreign, a third of what Americans catch is sold to foreigners.
seafood industry, it turns out, is a great example of the swaps,
delete-and-replace maneuvers and other mechanisms that define so much of
the outsourced American economy; you can find similar, seemingly
inefficient phenomena in everything from textiles to technology.
difference with seafood, though, is that we’re talking about the
destruction and outsourcing of the very ecological infrastructure that
underpins the health of our coasts.
Let’s walk through these illogical
arrangements, course by course.
Appetizers: Half Shells for Cocktails
most blatant seafood swap has been the abandonment of local American
oysters for imported Asian shrimp.
Once upon a time, most American
Atlantic estuaries (including the estuary we now call the New York
Bight) had vast reefs of wild oysters.
Many of these we destroyed by the
1800s through overharvesting.
But because oysters are so easy to
cultivate (they live off wild microalgae that they filter from the
water), a primitive form of oyster aquaculture arose up and down our
the 1920s the United States produced two billion pounds of oysters a
The power of the oyster industry, however, was no match for the
urban sewage and industrial dumps of various chemical stews that
pummeled the coast at midcentury.
Atlantic oyster culture fell to just 1
percent of its historical capacity by 1970.
as the half-shell appetizer was fading into obscurity, the shrimp
cocktail rose to replace it, thanks to a Japanese scientist named
Motosaku Fujinaga and the kuruma prawn.
Kurumas were favored in a
preparation known as “dancing shrimp,” a dish that involved the
consumption of a wiggling wild shrimp dipped in sake.
figured out how to domesticate this pricey animal.
His graduate students
then fanned out across Asia and tamed other varieties of shrimp.
shrimp, mostly farmed in Asia, is the most consumed seafood in the
United States: Americans eat nearly as much of it as the next two most
popular seafoods (canned tuna and salmon) combined. Notably, the amount
of shrimp we now eat is equivalent to our per capita oyster consumption a
the Asian aquaculture juggernaut didn’t stop with shrimp.
shrimp was a doorway into another seafood swap, which leads to the next
Fish Sticks: Atlantic for Pacific
seafood eaters know the sad story of the Atlantic cod.
The ill effects
of the postwar buildup of industrialized American fishing are epitomized
by that fish’s overexploitation: Gorton’s fish sticks and McDonald’s
Filets-o-Fish all once rode on the backs of billions of cod.
populations of North America plummeted and have yet to return.
as the North Atlantic was falling as a fish-stick producer, the Pacific
Beginning in the 1990s two new white fish started coming to us
from Asia: tilapia, which grows incredibly fast, and the Vietnamese
Pangasius catfish, which grows even faster (and can breathe air if its
ponds grow too crowded).
These two are now America’s fourth- and
sixth-most-consumed seafoods, respectively, according to the National
Alongside them, a fishery arose for an indigenous wild American Pacific fish called the Alaskan, or walleye, pollock
In just a few decades, pollock harvests went from negligible to
billions of pounds a year.
Pollock is now the fish in McDonald’s
Filet-o-Fish and the crab in the “fake crab” that Larry David discussed
mid-coitus on “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”
In fact, there is so much pollock
that we can’t seem to use it all: Every year more than 600 million
pounds is frozen into giant blocks and sent to the churning fish
processing plants of Asia, Germany and the Netherlands.
all this wild fish abroad and then importing farmed fish to replace it
is enough to make you want to take a stiff drink and go to bed.
you wake up and reach for your bagel, surprise!
The fish swap will get
Lox: Wild for Farmed
was a time when “nova lox” was exactly that: wild Atlantic salmon (laks
in Norwegian) caught off Nova Scotia or elsewhere in the North
But most wild Atlantic salmon populations have been fished to
commercial extinction, and today a majority of our lox comes from
selectively bred farmed salmon, with Chile our largest supplier.
is curious, given that salmon are not native to the Southern
But after Norwegian aquaculture companies took them there in
the ’80s, they became so numerous as to be considered an invasive
prevalence of imported farmed salmon on our bagels is doubly curious
because the United States possesses all the wild salmon it could
Five species of Pacific salmon return to Alaskan rivers
every year, generating several hundred million pounds of fish flesh
Where does it all go?
Increasingly to Asia.
Alaska, by far our biggest fish-producing
state, exports around three-quarters of its salmon.
make things triply strange, a portion of that salmon, after heading
across the Pacific, returns to us: Because foreign labor is so cheap,
many Alaskan salmon are caught in American waters, frozen, defrosted in
Asia, filleted and boned, refrozen and sent back to us.
make this Asian round trip, as do squid — and who knows what else?
you dig into the fish-trade data, things get murkier.
In its 2012
summary of the international fish trade, the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration noted, somewhat bizarrely, that its
definition of exports “may include merchandise of both domestic and
for example, when fish sticks are cut from blocks of imported “white
fish” in an American facility and exported to a foreign country, they
are classified as American domestic production.
Meanwhile some of our
imports, as with an unknowable portion of our salmon, are taken from
American waters, reprocessed elsewhere and brought back home.
percentages cancel themselves out?
that’s my point.
Globalization, that unseen force that supposedly
eliminates inefficiencies through the magic of trade, has radically
disconnected us from our seafood supply.
course, there is a place for the farming of shrimp, just as there is a
place for the farming of oysters.
There is a need for efficient
aquacultured species like tilapia and Pangasius, just as there is a need
to curb the overfishing of Atlantic cod.
There is even a place for
farmed Atlantic salmon, particularly if it can be raised so it doesn’t
affect wild salmon.
when trade so completely severs us from our coastal ecosystems, what
motivation have we to preserve them?
I’d argue that with so much farmed
salmon coming into the country, we turn a blind eye to projects like the
proposed Pebble Mine in Alaska, which would process 10 billion tons of
ore from a site next to the spawning grounds of the largest wild sockeye
salmon run on earth.
maintain that farmed shrimp inure us to the fact that the principal
rearing ground of Gulf shrimp, the Mississippi River Delta, is slipping
into the sea at a rate of a football field an hour.
I’d venture that if
we didn’t import so much farmed seafood we might develop a viable,
sustainable aquaculture sector of our own.
Currently the United States
languishes in 15th place in aquaculture, behind microscopic economies
like Egypt and Myanmar.
And I’d suggest that all this fish swapping
contributes to an often fraudulent seafood marketplace, where nearly
half of the oceanic products sold may be mislabeled.
can have no more intimate relationship with our environment than to eat
During the last century that intimacy has been lost, and with
it our pathway to one of the most healthful American foods.
It is our
obligation to reclaim this intimacy.
This requires us not just to eat
local seafood; it requires the establishment of a working relationship
with our marine environment.
It means, in short, making seafood not only
central to personal health, but critical to the larger health of the
Man to live on melting iceberg for one year to urge climate change action
Man to live on melting iceberg for one year to urge climate change action
Crazy publicity stunt or stroke of daring genius?
We're not sure, but it got our attention.
The man pictured above is Alex Bellini
a professional adventurer and motivational speaker who plans to live
alone on a melting iceberg off the coast of Greenland for one year, to
emphasize the urgent need for climate change action.
one-man campaign comes at a time when a chorus of scientists,
organizations and policymakers continue to warn about the accelerating loss of Arctic ice
extreme circumstances seem to call for extreme measures, but for this
former finance student from northern Italy who has already run 23,000
kilometres (14,291 miles) of marathons, rowed solo across the
Mediterranean, Atlantic, and Pacific oceans, this new project seems even
Starting in spring of 2015, Bellini plans to find a suitable iceberg
in the northwest region of Greenland, where he will remain for up to a
year as it slowly melts.
Provisioned with with 300 kilograms (661
pounds) of dried food, Bellini will shelter in a survival capsule, the
Kevlar-reinforced kind used for ocean oil rigs, until it becomes too
risky -- at which point he will take to the sea in the capsule, floating
adrift until he is rescued.
The project will also serve science:
the UK-based explorer plans to observe the changes to our planetary
Bellini's technical equipment will be powered by a
rowing contraption that will convert his muscular energy into
He says on Motherboard
My objective is reporting and investigating, by means of scientific
methods, the entire lifetime of an iceberg.
I want to prove how the pace
of ice-melting has dramatically accelerated over the last decades.
We’ll also play the symbolic card: the adventure of a man floating
adrift on an iceberg will come to represent the condition of the whole
humankind going adrift on an endangered planet.
Though Bellini earnestly seeks to draw attention to the seriousness of
climate change, some have expressed awed disbelief at the adventurer's
When asked if he was "crazy," the self-professed
"explorer of human nature" replies to Adventure Journal
that it is also about pushing the boundaries of human possibilities:
Well, I want to be honest with you: yes, probably I’m a bit crazy, but
is it not equally crazy someone who lives a life constantly dreaming of
Is it not equally crazy someone who procrastinates,
someone who, fearing to be or look imperfect, refrains from dancing,
acting, singing, wooing a girl?
Is it not equally crazy someone who
postpones his happiness to future events that might never occur?
I’m crazy because I chose sacrifice, remoteness, and solitude or because
I decided to live the life I love, but as you can see nobody is
It may seem crazy, but this seems like another much needed nudge to the collective human psyche to adapt and change for the better
; in a way, we'll all be floating adrift with Alex.
Ship loses more than 500 containers in heavy seas
From CNN by Tim Lister
Mary Maersk leaves Algeciras from Maersk Line
On July 21, 2014, the MV Mary Maersk departed Algeciras, Spain
with a world record 17,603 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU),
the most TEU’s ever loaded onto a single vessel.
On any day, between 5 million and 6 million containers are on the
high seas, carrying everything from potato chips to refrigerators.
not all of them make it to their destination, as the crew of the
Svendborg Maersk have just found out.
Their Danish-flagged ship
was in the Bay of Biscay last week as hurricane-force winds battered
the Atlantic coast of Europe.
Amid waves of 30 feet and winds of 60
knots, the Svendborg began losing containers off northern France. After
the ship arrived in the Spanish port of Malaga this week, Maersk
discovered that about 520 containers were unaccounted for. Stacks of
others had collapsed.
It's the biggest recorded loss of containers overboard in a single incident.
Maersk was struck by high wind and waves off the coast of France after
it left the Bay of Biscay. By the time it had reached the Spanish port of
Malaga, more than 500 containers were unaccounted for.
As repairs are made to
the Svendborg in Malaga, Palle Laursen, Maersk's vice president of
operations, says the company is examining its procedures "to avoid
similar incidents in the future." The company told CNN that the extreme
weather had an unexpectedly forceful impact on the ship's movements.
said 85% of the lost containers were empty and others included such dry
goods as frozen meat.
None contained dangerous goods.
Maersk is now
contacting customers to tell them that their shipments are at the bottom
of the ocean.
The Svendborg, which was
on its way from Rotterdam in the Netherlands to Colombo in Sri Lanka via
the Suez Canal, warned French maritime authorities that vessels should
look out for floating containers, but most sank quickly in the
Thirteen have now been recovered, according to French officials.
The ship started losing containers off the coast of northern France,where it was struck by 30-foot waves and winds of 60 knots.
The French environmental
group Robin des Bois said Friday it would sue Maersk for failing to
disclose the full extent of the loss when it occurred, putting the lives
of others in danger, causing pollution and abandoning waste at sea.
group claimed the containers were a lasting danger to fishing vessels
and the environment.
authorities were alerted by Maersk that vessels should look out for
floating containers, but most sank quickly in the rough seas. Thirteen
have been recovered, according to French officials.
Most containers won't
float for long, especially in heavy seas.
But one that is refrigerated
may be buoyed by its insulation, and the use of polystyrene as packaging
for goods also aids flotation.
New Zealand marine insurer Vero Marine
says a 20-foot container can float for up to two months, and a 40-foot
container might float more than three times as long.
Cargo spills and shipping hazards
These rogue containers
can pose a danger to shipping and pollute the environment.
thousands of bags of Doritos chips washed up on the beaches of North
Carolina's Outer Banks -- much to the delight of local gulls -- after
the container carrying them split apart in the Atlantic.
in 1992, a container broke apart off the coast of Alaska, and 29,000 plastic ducks and frogs escaped
They've been washing up as far away as Scotland and Japan ever since.
There is no requirement
on shipping lines to report container losses to the International
Maritime Organization or other international body, so no one seems to
know how many containers are lost at sea every year.
The Through Transport
Club, which insures 15 of the top 20 container lines, has put the loss
at fewer than 2,000 containers a year.
But other industry sources say
the number may be as high as 10,000.
That would still represent far less
than 1% of the containers traversing the world's oceans.
Maersk, one of
the world's largest lines, says that its highest annual loss in the
last decade was 59 containers.
But the hazard is still
In recent years, several small vessels have reported damage
after hitting semi-submerged containers. During his solo voyage around
the world, American sailor Paul Lutus wrote that "one night in the
Indian Ocean, I hit a waterlogged shipping container that was too low in
the water to show up on radar."
His 31-foot boat was damaged but stayed
Lost at Sea: The Increasing Threat from Containers and Containerships
Container weight an issue
Shipping analysts say
that one issue affecting the stability of container stacks is that the
steel boxes -- 20 to 40 feet long -- are not accurately weighed.
say some shippers frequently understate the weight of their containers
to reduce freight charges.
Not knowing how much your cargo weighs can
introduce all sorts of problems in terms of the stress a vessel must
endure at sea.
Three years ago, a
proposal was put to the International Maritime Organization for
containers to be weighed before being loaded.
But nothing has been
agreed, and many shipping associations object to such a proposal as
expensive and time-consuming.
Even so, one current
investigation may focus more attention on the loading of containers.
Last June, the 90,000-ton MOL Comfort literally snapped in half 200
miles off the coast of Yemen.
The ship, built in Japan, was only 5 years
Both sections of the Comfort, as well as 4,500 containers, went to
the ocean floor.
One factor being investigated is whether uneven
loading of containers contributed to intolerable stresses on the hull.
It would not be the
first such disaster.
Seven years ago, the 62,000-ton MSC Napoli suffered
catastrophic hull failure and ran aground off the English coast.
report by the UK Marine Accident Investigation Board concluded that inaccurate information about container weights could have been critical
given that cargo ships often sail close to their maximum permissible
"bending moments," which measure the external stress on a vessel.
recommended that "if the stresses acting on container ships are to be
accurately controlled, it is essential that containers are weighed
before embarkation" and criticized the industry's "overriding desire" to
maintain schedules and keep port time to a minimum.
The cost of salvage and cargo came to nearly $200 million.
An interim report into
the sinking of the MOL Comfort by the Japanese Transport Ministry --
published in December -- also called for the weight of containers to be
verified before loading to reduce uncertainty about ships' bending
But a definitive answer
to the Comfort's demise may never be known, as much of the evidence lies
deep under the Indian Ocean's waves.
A small island takes a big step on ocean conservation
Presentation on the Blue Halo initiative given in July at the Scripps
Institution of Oceanography
From NYTimes by Andrew C. Revkin
by Stephanie Roach, who worked with the Waitt
Institute on the project over the past year
Marine life in the Caribbean has been badly hurt in recent decades by everything from an introduced pathogen that killed off reef-grooming sea urchins
to more familiar insults like overfishing
and impacts of tourism and coastal development
Some small island states are now trying to restore once-rich ecosystems while sustaining their economies.
A case in point is Barbuda
population 1,600 or so, where the governing council on Aug. 12 passed a
suite of regulations restricting activities on a third of the island’s
The regulations and reef “zoning,” in essence, came about after
months of discussions involving fishing communities, marine biologists
and other interested parties, facilitated by the Waitt Institute
, a nonprofit conservation organization.
Barbuda with the Marine GeoGarage
Of course, it’ll take time to see if the ambitious marine zoning plan works as intended.
Local fishermen are seeking help finding new sources of income
, according to the Antigua Observer.
But the process, which
took nearly two years of study and meetings, provides a promising
template not only for other island communities but also for any region
where environmental restoration efforts have to mesh with local economic
The best way to avoid resistance is to involve affected communities from the start.
The initiative brings to mind the Cheonggyecheon stream restoration project in the heart of Seoul
that I wrote about in 2009.
The mayor’s team held hundreds of meetings
with merchants and residents to work out issues and explain benefits.
Credit Waitt Institute
Here’s a piece describing Barbuda’s “Blue Halo
” initiative, written by Arthur Nibbs
, the chairman of the Barbuda Council and minister of fisheries of Antigua and Barbuda, and Ayana Elizabeth Johnson
, a marine biologist and the Waitt Institute executive director (and National Geographic blogger
How to Use the Ocean Without Using it Up
By Minister Arthur Nibbs and Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, Ph.D.
Small islands face big ocean problems, but the solutions can be simple.
Set some areas aside, protect key species, and prevent habitat damage.
This will benefit the economy, help ensure food security, and allow the ocean to be used sustainably, profitably, and enjoyably, for this and future generations.
A year-and-a half ago, the Barbuda Council and the Waitt Institute forged a partnership to envision a sustainable ocean future for the island of Barbuda and launch the Barbuda Blue Halo Initiative.
Put simply, we collaborated to design a plan to use the ocean without using it up.
This month, the Barbuda Council signed into law a sweeping set of new ocean management regulations that zone the coastal waters, strengthen fisheries management, and establish a network of marine sanctuaries.
Barbuda may be a small island, but we hope the big commitment represented by these new policies will set an inspiring example for the region.
The new regulations create five marine sanctuaries, collectively protecting 33% (139 square kilometers) of the coastal area, and initiate a two-year hiatus on fishing in Codrington Lagoon to enable fish populations to rebuild and habitats to recover.
Catching parrotfish and sea urchins has been completely prohibited, as those herbivores are critical to keeping algae levels on reefs low so coral can thrive.
Barbuda is the first Caribbean island to put either of these important, strong measures in place.
Of course, if the community didn’t support this, it wouldn’t work.
Therefore, to ensure the new policies reflect stakeholders’ concerns and priorities, there were six rounds of community consultations.
The final zoning map is the fourth iteration – the boundaries have changed dramatically since the Council’s initial draft.
The prohibition of using nets on the reefs was included at the request of local fishers concerned with reef damage.
Though there will never be 100% agreement, this has been a consensus-seeking process and the Council aimed to balance current and future needs to use ocean resources.
Why were these measures necessary?
First, Caribbean-wide, communities are seeing declines in the health of coastal ecosystems and fish populations. Barbuda is no exception.
On average, Barbuda’s reefs are 79% covered in algae, with less than 14% living coral.
This is not good for fishing or tourism; fish need habitats and tourists want to see vibrant abundance.
Second, fishers now have to go further and into deeper water to make a good catch.
This is expensive in fuel and it is dangerous.
The regulations aim to rebuild coastal fisheries and ensure fishers have a livelihood that will last in perpetuity.
Some people will say that these policies are meant to hurt fishers, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
The sanctuaries were created to replenish the surrounding fishing areas.
Third, Barbuda is highly endangered by climate change and sea level rise.
The coral reefs and mangroves buffer the island from the impacts of storms, so by protecting the reefs and mangroves, they will in turn protect the island.
Healthier reefs will also be more resilient to impacts like warming sea temperature that can’t be prevented locally.
Last, but certainly not least, dwindling coastal resources threaten local culture.
The people of Barbuda have a strong connection to the sea – fish fries, camping on the beaches, kids growing up learning to fish with their parents and grandparents.
In order to preserve this way of life, ocean ecosystems must be protected.
Over the next several years, the Barbuda Council and Waitt Institute will continue to work closely as these regulations are implemented.
The Institute will help to set up a long-term scientific monitoring program, train local staff in marine ecology and field research techniques, design enforcement approaches, provide needed equipment, and work with the schools to develop an ocean education curriculum.
Unfortunately, Barbuda is not unique in facing these challenges – degraded coral reefs, depleted fisheries, and climate change impacts are nearly ubiquitous globally.
So putting strong ocean policies in place is merely the first step, and we hope that more and more nations will take this step alongside Barbuda.
Diamond of the desert : the best POV barrel we’ve ever seen
In this arid African Desert, 1/5 of all the diamonds in the world exist.
They were so common at one point that the locals could walk across the dunes on a full moon and spot them shimmering from a far.
We went to this rumored place and found a diamond of our own.